Suicide Risk and Mental Illness

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Mental illness, is it a disease? Is it just a figment of a person’s brain? Why is it so common? Lastly, why are adolescents burdens with this dark cloud of mental illnesses and suicide? I never really had any type of contact with mental illnesses as a child, it wasn’t till middle school when it started to become prevalent in my life. As a dramatic 14-year-old, I thought I was depressed and wanted to kill myself. By high school, I saw it as a phase of just getting through middle school years.

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But as I have gotten older, depression and anxiety have always had this cloud over me. I grew up in the small town of Rockford, where I went to school at Freeman. We honestly were pretty sheltered from the world. Going to a small school, you don’t have to worry about things like mentally ill people right? No, turns out that is very wrong. The freeman community has experienced some of the most horrifying accidents. There’s been several cancer cases, suicides, and one shooting. After that, it changed my life forever and how I see things. This kid that I have been going to school with forever, committed suicide the summer before my junior year. When I heard about it, I was so shocked. It really took a toll on me, all I could think about is what could I have done to make him want to stay alive. But instead, I sat there next to him in English class every day, never saying one word to him.

Maybe one word could have saved his life. Another suicide happened, He graduated from Freeman about 5 years back and just out of nowhere he was dead. Then the shooting happened. If you talk to any kid that goes to Freeman, they will say that we thought we were cursed. I just thought, why? Why are these innocent people dying? Why isn’t anyone doing anything about it? Then I knew that something had to change. We can’t go through life ignoring the fact that there are mental illnesses and people need to be helped. First, what is a Mental illness? It is health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior. Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities. Different types of mental illnesses are anxiety, mood disorder, eating disorders, personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. One main disorder that is related back to suicide is depression. In the article, Depression, suicide and deliberate self-harm in adolescence written by Richard Harrington, he explains how to determine whether someone is depressed and how severe it can be. The basic way to find out whether an adolescent has depression starts with a basic question of diagnosis.

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